CBD Testing Explained

While CBD products are not as yet widely regulated, there are fast becoming some basic standards regarding the content of tinctures, vape liquids, and other cannabinoid products.  The primary way in which the standard is currently being established is through the use of laboratory testing. These tests produce lab reports that show the exact contents and percentages of the makeup of a product, and the exact amount of the contents thereof.

For example, these tests will show the precise amount of THC, CBD, CBN, or any other cannabinoid for which a product is being tested, as well as any pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, heavy metals, and chemical solvents.  Obviously, the more substances a lab tests for, the more accurate reading you’ll get on the contents of the product in question, and there are nearly as many labs offering analyses as there are products on the market, so choosing one that offers the level of detail and clarity you’re looking for becomes a factor as well.

The first thing you want to look for in any CBD product you’re considering is the amount of CBD actually in the product.  This unit is usually measured in milligrams (mg), but can sometimes be found in milliliters (ml).  There is no wrong amount of CBD to be found in a product, and you’ll just want to base the amount you’re looking for on your personal needs and preferences. Please consult your medical professional for 

Another thing to look out for in any cannabinoid product is THC.  Nearly all CBD and other cannabinoid products will contain some amount of THC, but it’s important to make sure that the amount is 0.3% or less to avoid the intoxicating effects of that particular cannabinoid.  The amount of legally saleable THC varies state to state, so be sure to be up to date on your state’s regulations before purchasing or transporting any products with higher THC contents.

Pesticides and herbicides are tested for using a process called HPLC mass spectrometry.  This method of testing is highly accurate, and ideally, any product you’re considering should be 100% free of the most common of these poisons.  There are, however, maximum allowable amounts for many of these, and those numbers can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website database.  When in doubt, shop for a product with either a “pass” rating in this field, or a 0% finding.

Heavy metals are another important thing to watch out for in your cannabinoid product testing.  You will often see some trace amounts of common heavy metals, such as lead and even arsenic, but there are certainly levels under which even these dangerous elements are acceptable.  Often, a lab report or label will tell you what the acceptable levels of any given element are, right next to the levels found, but if you’re unsure, these answers can be found easily on a search engine enquiry and should be considered carefully before purchase or consumption.

The last major consideration in any lab report is the presence of chemical solvents.  Largely, what you’re looking out for here is the presence of any glycols.  These are solvents that break down into aldehydes, such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which are known carcinogens and should, obviously, be avoided.  The most commonly found glycols are polyethylene glycol (PEG) and propylene glycol (PG), and are usually given a simple pass/fail rating on a lab report.

So, lab testing is important in CBD and cannabinoid products, not only to inform you on the levels of CBD and other cannabinoids in the product, but to steer you clear of any contents which you aren’t comfortable consuming, or would do better to avoid.  Just one more thing to consider while you navigate the plethora of CBD and cannabinoid products currently available, and to compare for the combinations and percentages that suit your personal needs.

Resources Referenced
WayofLeaf – CBD Third Party Reports